How Do You Draw Mercy?

dock into ocean mercy of God

If you were asked to draw a picture of mercy what would you draw? How would you take the tools of pencil and paper and use them to craft a concept like mercy? Would you draw an event in your life; an event where you were shown mercy and after that you would never be the same? How do you draw mercy?

But all the wickedness in the world which man may do or think is no more to the mercy of God than a live coal dropped in the sea.” William Langland

Though crafted with words and not a drawing, this quote has given me a picture of mercy that I never want to forget. I found the quote through Madeleine L’engle’s book One Live Coal to the Sea; a book where she explores mercy in the life of a family. Mercy in the midst of evil and dysfunction; mercy despite selfishness and betrayal; mercy when life demands justice.

In the midst of life’s journey, in the middle of hearing, seeing or thinking about evil, it is easy to forget the mercy of God. Mercy for apathetic teens and adults, mercy for passionate teenagers shot out of evil intent, mercy (dare I say it) for the men who shot her, mercy for me.

Today I picture that live coal, burning hot; a coal that can ignite a fire or burn a body, causing great pain and damage. And I picture that red, hot coal hitting the vast ocean where it can no longer do damage; where it is overcome by something so much more powerful. It is so far beyond my understanding, so much bigger than I could ever imagine. Evil confronted by the mercy of God and in that confrontation losing its power — one live coal to the sea.

How do you draw mercy?

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” Micah 6:8

9 thoughts on “How Do You Draw Mercy?

  1. Marilyn, the words of an old hymn come to mind: “Mercy there was great, and grace was free, Pardon there was multiplied to me. There my burdened soul found lliberty, at Calvary.” Mercy, Grace, Pardon.


    1. That song is now going through my head. I’m remember singspirations at Norwood when I was a little girl! Thank you for this great memory and these great words.


  2. Don’t know where I heard it or read it, but the quote as I remember it is: Justice has been swallowed by mercy.


    1. When I read this I got this picture in my mind of a huge whale swallowing a tiny minnow. I know that’s not a great word picture but it somehow worked for me!


  3. this reminds me of c.s. lewis’ book The Great Divorce. i can’t quote it directly, but at one point the guide points him to a crack in the dirt at the base of the grass and says all the evil in the world is no more than one speck of dirt in that crack….


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